Tag Archives: classroom management

What’s Routine Got to Do With It? Building Edtech Routines

by Amber Wilson

building edtech routines

image courtesy alxsanchez | freeimages.com

As professional adults, the benefits of routines are obvious to us. We optimize everything we can, especially our time. Establishing a routine means that we don’t have to constantly stop and ask ourselves “What comes next?” All classrooms have routines in place. There are behavior-centered routines for classroom management, and there are metacognitive routines for learning and comprehension.

Some routines are inherent to the situation: before class begins, students file through a narrow opening into an enclosed space. (For some of us, the routine consists mostly of standing in the doorway, shooing barely-on-time kids into the room and urging them into seats.) Some of them are consciously developed over time to achieve a specific goal: when I need your attention, I clap twice and you clap once and respond verbally before falling silent and looking at me.

You probably have routines for assigning work, for collecting homework, and for distributing readings and resources to your students. (If you are Google-savvy or a regular reader, you may already be using tech to fine-tune these processes.)

Take a quick inventory of the tech that you currently (or would like to!) use regularly with your students. You may have some technology available that you’re hesitant to use because you don’t want it to pull focus from the instruction and learning tasks at hand.

We know that the point of educational technology is not the tech itself, but the additional learning opportunities it can provide. Just like routines for common occurrences such as students excusing themselves to the restroom, and for infrequent events like fire drills, routines for getting out, using, and putting away classroom technology will prevent distraction and keep the focus on education.

What are some routines you might want to put in place?

What are the benefits of tech-use routines?

  • manage class time effectively
  • students always know what is expected of them
  • minimize student confusion and loss of attention
  • maintain high standards for self and others
  • allow greater independence, accountability, and responsibility for students
  • emphasizes that you value student work (as well as the devices themselves)

Remember that it takes a lot of repetition for something to become habit. Don’t be afraid to invest time in the beginning. Building good habits that allow students (and teachers) to get the most of out of available classroom tech will yield great rewards in the long run.

AmberAmber Wilson is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development.

Tech Tools to Focus Your Classroom

by Erin Dye

technology classroom management

Empower your students with technology | Image courtesy of Archipoch FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Some teachers see technology as either distracting or counterproductive, but what if you could use technology to better focus your instructional time and your students’ attention? If used strategically, certain tech tools are perfect for classroom management.

Khan Academy

A great place to start is Khan Academy. Although this site specializes in math content, their other resources include videos, assessments, and partner content from a wide variety of subjects. Sign up and use of Khan Academy is free. As your students explore new topics, they can earn points for completing activities and watching videos, which will give them a tangible way to measure their progress.  Khan Academy can also be a great springboard for generating ideas for a larger project.


As students scour the web for more information about what they learn in the classroom, they will probably need some help organizing the information that they find. Diigo (pronounced dee-go) is an online research tool that allows users to annotate online content. After installing the browser add-on, students can click on the Diigo icon to save bookmarks, highlight text, add sticky notes, and tag information around the web.

Diigo also makes it easy to work collaboratively and share information. To help students share information responsibly, create a group on Diigo and add your students as group members. Have students safely share their research with the group using the privacy features on Diigo.

Google Books

Students can also use Google Books to access relevant, free content— both fiction and nonfiction works. Before letting students work independently or in their groups, demonstrate some best practices for searching Google Books. Show students how to search for free eBooks and use date or relevance filters to organize their results. Students can highlight text, bookmark pages, perform related searches, and write notes in these ebooks. For other free online ebooks, try using this helpful list from TeachThought.


Socrative is another tool you can use to focus your instruction. This tool is free while in beta, and the site will always have a free basic version. Socrative’s teacher interface helps you assess students and track their progress using multiple choice, true/false, and short answer quizzes.

Once you create a Socrative account, you will receive a classroom number to share with your students. Students can join this digital classroom using a browser or app on their tablets, smartphones, laptops, or other devices. Use this tool at the beginning of class as a bell ringer or at the end of class as an exit ticket to assess your students’ progress.


Whether you are introducing your students to new ideas, helping them to explore those ideas further, or testing just how much they have learned, these tools will help you better engage your students.

How have you already used tech tools to focus your classes? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Erin DyeErin Dye is Manager of Consulting Services for Green Light Professional Development. She has extensive experience creating digital materials for interactive whiteboards and iPads. She writes about technology integration and GLPD’s work in local schools.